What is a refurbished product?

What are Refurbished Products?

This post is aimed at clearing up exactly what refurbished products are.

This is our definition:

Refurbished products are devices that have been restored to full working condition, as new, after being either pre-owned or used as display models.

That is the basic overview. It is worth pointing out that refurbished products are sometimes called “reconditioned” or “remanufactured”.

Now let’s dive into the more detailed facts.

Refurbished products are 100% functional

What are refurbished products?
Credit: Flickr

All components in a refurbished product work like new. From the keyboard of a computer to the screen of a phone, from the battery of an iPad to the charger of an Apple Watch, products will always have 100% of their parts in full working condition, like their brand new counterparts do.

How is this? – you may ask.

Well, refurbished products aren’t the same as ‘used’ products. If any parts on a refurbished product are not up to the functional standard of a new product, they will be replaced. Let’s say the hard drive wasn’t working, then it will be replaced with a new one. Let’s say the battery had lost some power, then it will be replaced. Let’s say the logic board had a connection error, the problem would be found and fixed.

This means that when you buy a refurbished product, it will be 100% functional and working.

Refurbished products have been fully tested

Apple A7 Chip Refurbished iPad
Credit: Apple

When a product is to be refurbished, one of the most important stages is the testing. Refurbished products go through a full test. This includes, hardware and software, and a thorough checking of all components. Most parts, if not all, will pass the checks with flying colors.

But sometimes there are issues, and for these, the parts will go through troubleshooting. When the refurbisher knows what is wrong with the part, they can make an informed decision on how to proceed. Sometimes they will replace the part entirely with a new part. For example, if a screen has a crack, it will be replaced with a brand new screen. And other times, the refurbisher will simply fix the part. For example, if there is a lose wire on the motherboard, they can easily reconnect the wire.

After the fixes or replacements have been completed, the refurbished product needs to go back through the full product test. Only when a product can pass all functional testing (as a new product would), can it be approved and sold as refurbished.

Refurbished products have been cleaned

Refurbished iPhone 4 clean
Credit: Geek.com

Many refurbished products have spent their short life being used by their previous owner, or being used by multiple people as a display model in a store. That is why it is so important for refurbished phones, tablets and computers alike, to go through an intense cleaning process.

Products are thoroughly cleansed to ensure they are as shiny and dust-free as new. Screens are polished, dust is removed from keyboards, and all ports are checked for dirt. Also, the internal parts of the hardware are cleaned so that you can be sure the refurbished device is completely spotless and sanitized.

Refurbished products have had all user data erased

Refurbished iPhone data erased
Credit: iDownloadBlog

This is a topic that people often ask about refurbished products. We can confirm that when a product is refurbished, the hard drive will have been wiped of all data. This means that you aren’t going to be plagued with Jon’s Star Wars movie collection, or Hannah’s texts to her ex-boyfriends, or even Stacey’s countless cat GIFs (even if you wanted them!).

The hard drive, whether it is a computer, phone or tablet, will be completely fresh and ready for you! Which brings us onto the next point…

Refurbished products have had their operating system reinstalled

Refurbished Mac reinstalled software
Credit: Macworld

After the hard drive is erased of all data, the operating system is re-installed. That means that when you receive your refurbished iPhone or iPad, it will have a clean copy of iOS ready for you to set up. Or if you have purchased a refurbished MacBook, it’ll be ready for you with a clean copy of Mac OS X (or macOS in future versions).

Basically, the software is ready for you as it would be in a brand new model. You will be able to set the device up as new, or maybe restore from a backup of your previous device if you like.

Refurbished products come with a warranty

Refurbished Warranty Cover

Yes, it’s true! Do people want to spend their hard earned cash on products without warranties? Not usually. And that is why it makes sense to include warranties with refurbished products.

Now, it is important to note that not all refurbishers include warranties with their products. We would advise that you stay away from companies that don’t provide warranties for any electronic items – whether they are refurbished electronics or not. Thankfully, we aggregate all of the best deals from refurbishers on our website – and they ALL provide warranties with their products. Some even allow you to pay to upgrade the warranty period so that you can be covered for multiple years. So RefurbMe is the smartest way to find quality refurbished products with warranties.

Refurbished products may come with a lower cosmetic condition than new

New vs Refurbished iPad
Credit: Macworld

The only real difference with refurbished products, compared to new products (aside from the much lower price of course), is the cosmetic condition of the items. This is purely the appearance and it is important to remember that refurbished products are 100% functional.

There are 3 different levels of cosmetic condition, which are detailed here:

Excellent: The screen and body are in perfect condition.

Good: The screen is very good. There may be scuffs or nicks on the side or back.

Fair: There are scuffs and nicks. It will look used but will be fully functional.

All products that Apple refurbish themselves, are classed as ‘Excellent’. In fact, you may not know this, but when Apple give you a replacement device if your device breaks, they actually give you a refurbished device. That’s right, you literally can’t tell between new and refurbished in this case.

All refurbished products are still completely functional, it is just their appearance that can vary.

Refurbished products are sold for cheaper than new products

Hot Refurbished Product Deals
There are plenty of hot deals for refurbished Apple products on our website

This may be the most awesome fact. By purchasing a refurbished product, you’re saving yourself between 15% and 80% off the original retail price of the new product. That’s why we love them!

Let’s give you some examples so you know what to expect. For a refurbished iPhone 6, you are probably going to get 40-50% off. And if you’re you’re looking for a secondary phone (maybe for Pokemon Go), why not get an iPhone 4s refurb for 89% off!! For a refurbished MacBook, you should be looking at saving between 20-40% but many Macs are also selling for 60% off. And refurbished iPads come with some really awesome deals – an iPad Air for 60% off – gimme it now!

But discounts vary a lot, you just need to have a good browse!

Bonus Fact: Refurbished products aren’t anymore likely to fail than new products

MacBook refurb reliable
Credit: Apple

It can be a worry when you buy any electronic product that it may break. Sometimes products can get through the highest standard product checks, and still have a manufacturing problem when in the hands of it’s purchaser. Refurbished products however, go through these high standard quality checks twice. So even if they failed the first time, they are unlikely to the pass quality check the second time if they have a problem.

Although there is no proven data on this theory, we suspect that refurbished products are in fact less likely to fail, than new products. But since there is no data on this yet, we will have to settle for confidently saying that refurbished products aren’t anymore likely to fail, than new products.

And remember, you’re always covered with a warranty anyway…